An unusual set for both Dexter and BlueNote – first, because the set was recorded in Europe (not at Rudy Van Gelder's), and second because the tracks are all quite long! The album was recorded in Paris – and is cut in an open-ended format that's very much in the mode that Gordon would later use on late 60s and early 70s sessions for European labels. The group features (then) local contemporaries Kenny Drew on piano, and Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass – and is rounded out by Donald Byrd on trumpet and Art Taylor on drums. Tracks are long, but not meanderingly so – and feature a great mix of BlueNote hardbop, with some of the "roomier" recordings that were given to American players in Europe. Side one features an extended reading of Donald Byrd's "Tanya", and other tracks include Kenny Drew's "Coppin' The Haven", and a version of "Darn That Dream". LP, Vinyl record album
An excellent lost funky soundtrack on BlueNote – their only one for years, and Grant Green's entry into the blacksploitation genre! The whole thing bristles with the kind of chunky, thumping percussive feel as the best funky soundtracks of the era – informed by the work of Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes, but with the deeper jazz feel that Green brings from his other BlueNote sides of the time! Some cuts are quite funky, particularly the opener, "Past, Present, and Future" with it's crisp trap, chicken scratch guitar and bongo driven beat. Others have more of a stripped-down dope instrumental feel – there's some sweet funky flute work on "Fathers Lament", and even a slight bossa groove creeps into the title track! The whole album's very nice, and it's very different than any of Grant Green's other work! Other titles include "Afro Party", Luana's Theme", "Slight Fear And Terror", and "Battle Scene". CD
A stellar album from Grant Green – very different than most of his other work for BlueNote, and a sly electric groover recorded with vibist Billy Wooten! The sound here is a bit more spacious than some of Grant's earlier albums, yet no less funky – thanks to a hip undercurrent of soul in the drums, and arrangements from Wade Marcus that keep things fluid throughout. Wooten's vibes are wonderful, a ringing counterpoint to Green's great lines on guitar – and even the more familiar tunes on the record turn out to be really unique readings here – thanks to the arrangements and overall conception. Mellow moments are dripping with plenty of soul, and the funky ones are pretty great too – and titles include a killer medley of James Brown's "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing" and "Cold Sweat", a heavy version of his instrumental groover "In The Middle", and a great original called "California Green" – plus "Never My Love", "Sunrise Sunset", "Got To Be There", and "If You Really Love Me". CD
One of the great ones! Grant Green meets up with a youthful Larry Young, and the two of them are backed by Elvin Jones on drums, for a free-flowing, modally grooving set of organ/guitar cuts that are among some of the best-ever recorded for BlueNote. The album's a stunning mix of soul jazz and modernist sensibilites, and Green and Young are in top top form. It's also one of the toughest to find on BlueNote, and we hardly ever see it on wax! Cuts include "Talkin' About J.C.", "Luny Tune", and "You Don't Know What Love Is". CD
Freddie Hubbard —
Goin' Up ... CD BlueNote (Japan), 1960. New Copy ...
On July 1, 2015
A real burner from Freddie Hubbard's early years at BlueNote – filled with rich hues, colors, and tones! The group's a quintet – supported by lyrical rhythms from the trio of McCoy Tyner on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums – working alongside Freddie's trumpet and the tenor of Hank Mobley – to craft tunes that sparkle with slight exotic touches, and which offer the perfect blend of modern and soulful that BlueNote was cutting in the early 60s! The whole album's great, and titles include the classic modal number "Asiatic Raes", plus "Karioka", "The Changing Scene", and "A Pec A Sec". CD
An essential BlueNote album by the great vibist Bobby Hutcherson, and a record that's split into 2 different sides, each of which display different aspects of Hutcherson's talents. The first four tracks are mellow and lyrical, with the kind of lovely melodic writing that is best illustrated by the cut "Little B's Poem" – included here, and still one of Hutcherson's most enduring works. The next four tracks show Hutcherson more as the accomplished modernist, working with edgey talents like James Spaulding on alto and flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and the great Joe Chambers on drums – who also wrote all 4 of the tracks in this segment. The work is a key example of Hutcherson's devotion to the BlueNote "new thing" sound, and titles include "Air", "Juba Dance", and "Pastoral". LP, Vinyl record album
Pete La Roca —
Basra ... CD BlueNote (Japan), 1965. New Copy ...
On June 3, 2015
One of the few albums that drummer Pete LaRoca ever made as a leader – and a gem through and through! LaRoca had a touch on the drums that was unlike anyone else – free, but never "out" – and in a flowing, progressive style that pointed the way towards the sound of jazz in the 70s, but which was still firmly rooted in the soulful style of the 60s. The album's filled with beautiful flowing waves of sound – and features lead solos by Joe Henderson, strong piano lines by Steve Kuhn, and some great round basswork by Steve Swallow. The feel of the set's somewhere in the vein of Larry Young's work at the time – never too "out", but much more flowing and free than the typical BlueNote. Tracks include "Basra", "Tears Come From Heaven", and "Candu". A fantastic album, with a unique approach! CD
Mindblowingly baroque funk from Brother Jack McDuff – an album that takes the initial BlueNote tripped-out groove of Moon Rappin, and pushes it to a whole new level! Jack's working here with arranger Ray Draper to come up with some tunes that are miles away from the earlier McDuff albums on Prestige – very far-reaching and free-thinking, and using a blend of rock and soul-inspired rhythms to push McDuff's organ work very firmly into the 1970s! The group on the set's a largeish one – filled with hip players that include Joe Beck on guitar, Mike Manieri on percussion, Randy Brecker and Olu Dara on trumpets, Paul Griffin on piano, and Draper himself on percussion and tuba. The set features the tightly-stepping funky number "Who's Pimpin Who", which features some great vocalizations from Ray and Jack; the tripped-out "Classic Funke", which has McDuff really burning up the keyboard; the down-n-dirty "Wank's Thang", which also has some nice vibes; and the cuts "Y'All Remember Boogie", "Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya", and "Who Knows What Tomorrow's Gonna Bring". CD
A real classic by Jackie McLean – a record that's pulled from 2 different sessions, but which stands out with a strikingly unified feel! The album was cut during the height of Jackie's bop years for BlueNote – with one 1959 session that featured Donald Byrd and Sonny Clark, and another from 1960 that featured Blue Mitchell, Kenny Drew, and the great Tina Brooks on tenor. Brooks' appearance on the album is especially great, as the tracks which feature him and McLean together crackle with some of the first modernist energy to show up on one of Jackie's albums – really hitting hard on original compositions that include "A Ballad For Doll", "Appointment in Ghana", and "Isle of Java". One of McLean's best-ever – and filled with great original tracks! CD
Jackie McLean —
New Soil ... CD BlueNote (Japan), 1959. New Copy ...
On July 1, 2015
If you ever needed a record to re-remind you of the genius of Jackie McLean, this BlueNote classic may well be it! At first glance, the session appears to be the usual sort of date – a quintet outing, with help from Donald Byrd on trumpet, Walter Davis on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Pete LaRoca on drums – yet as with all of McLean's best moments on records, the album explodes with freshly creative energy from the start – getting way past any easy expectation in the way it sets up the groove and delivers the sound! Jackie's tone is amazing – very modern at times, yet with all the soul of hardbop – and although the rhythms are relatively straight, there's always a slight setting-free at points – that pre-new thing groove that McLean further explored on records like Capuchin Swing or Fickle Sonance. The sound is amazing throughout – and titles are all originals by McLean and Davis – great gems that include "Davis Cup", "Sweet Cakes", "Hip Strut", "Minor Apprehension", and "Greasy". CD
Great early material from Hank Mobley – a record that's practically a Jazz Messengers album, given the lineup – and which comes across with the fire and power of that classic group at their start! Mobley's tenor is set tightly in a combo that includes Horace Silver on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, and Art Blakey on drums – just like an early Jazz Messengers group, but without trumpet – and really kicking strongly on the rhythm tip. Mobley's tenor gets some great focus out front – amazing linest hat already show the young Hank as one of the freshest tenor voices of his generation. Titles include "Hank's Prank", "Walkin The Fence", "Just Coolin", and "Avila & Tequila". 2015 BlueNote Authorized Dealer pressing – in celebration of BlueNote's 75th Anniversary – and the indie retailers that support them! LP, Vinyl record album
One of the best-ever Hank Mobley albums on BlueNote – and a killer batch of soulful hardbop that was cut right around the same time as the classic No Room For Squares LP. In fact, the album contains work from 2 different sessions that filtered over to the Squares album – one that featured Mobley with Freddie Hubbard, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, and Billy Higgins; and another that included Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Butch Warren, and Philly Joe Jones. The work is incredibly sharp – with that wonderful mix of soul jazz, hardbop, and nascent spiritualism that Mobley brought to his best work of the 60s. Titles include "My Sin", "Straight Ahead", "The Turnaround", and "East Of The Village". LP, Vinyl record album
A brilliant album that proves that even at the height of his success, Lee Morgan was one of the freest thinkers on BlueNote – always coming up with fresh ideas that continued to grow his talents! The first cut on the album is keep roof of that fact – the title track "Search For The New Land" – a beautiful 16 minute exploration of modal jazz themes, with an unusual stop/start device as a means of ushering solos by different bandmates – including Wayne Shorter on tenor, Grant Green on guitar, and Herbie Hancock on piano! The approach is unlike anything that Morgan ever did before – and unlike most of other BlueNote as well – and it also benefits from great rhythmic help from Reggie Workman on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Other tunes are a bit more conventional, but still pretty special – like some of Morgan's inventive work on the Rajah albums – with titles that include "The Joker", "Melancholee", "Mr. Kenyatta" and "Morgan The Pirate". LP, Vinyl record album
One of Hampton Hawes' last sessions for Contemporary Records – a wonderful little date that's filled with the bright tones and bold confidence that marked Hamp's piano work in later years! The style here is simple, but effective – and Hawes has a way of ringing out the notes without overdoing his thing – a balance that was never present in his earlier work, and which made him a more and more compelling player as the years went on. Titles include "Morning", "Blue In Green", "Sunny", "Soul Sign Eight", and "Killing Me Softly". CD
Milt Jackson —
Be Bop ... LP Atlantic/East West, 1988. Near Mint- ...
Just Sold Out!
A surprisingly great record from Milt Jackson – and we're saying that after being plenty darn suspicious about a record titled Be Bop recorded in the late 80s! The set has Jackson returning to the sound of his earliest roots – the boppish material he first cut for BlueNote as a leader in the early 50s, before rising to greater fame in the Modern Jazz Quartet, and later on as a strong solo artist in his own right. The recording is modern, but the feel is pretty darn right – better recorded than the old days, but played in a style that's quite faithful to the roots by a group that features Milt on vibes, Jon Faddis on trumpet, JJ Johnson on trombone, Jimmy Heath on tenor, and Cedar Walton on piano. Titles include "Now's The Time", "Au Privave", "Good Bait", "Woody N You", "Birk's Works", and "Salt Peanuts". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most amazing, expansive albums ever recorded by Brother Jack McDuff – a session that we'd rank right up there with his classic Moon Rappin for BlueNote – and which has an equally stretched out feel! Although some of Jack's other albums for Cadet in the 70s have a bit more of a keyboard-centric feel, this album's heavy on Hammond all the way through – played by McDuff with sharp edges, soaring solos, and that amazing sense of timing that few other players could match! But possibly even more amazing is the group on the set – a hip batch of cats who include Phil Upchurch and Sam Jones on bass, Don Myrick and Dave Young on tenor and flute, Bobby Alston on trumpet, Marty Roberts on guitar, and Derf Reklaw on percussion – all working wonderfully with McDuff arrangements on some very long tunes! The double-length nature of the 2LP record really lets the group stretch out nicely – and there's a tremendous sense of energy throughout – almost a mode that matches Charles Earland's Leaving This Planet album. Titles include "Ain't No Sunshine", "Radiation", "The Prophet", "The Boiler", "Pressure Gauge", "The Heatin System", "Elmo Tucker", and "Lonesome Is The Night". LP, Vinyl record album
(Original pressing. Cover has a cut corner and light wear.)
Idris Muhammad's working here in a style that's very different than his heavy-footed funky work on Prestige and BlueNote – and while it's easy to criticize him for not keeping the same old breakbeat funk style, it's also important to give him a lot of credit for pushing his vision way past the simple stock style of the earlier days! The record's a very nice set of complicated jazzy grooves – some a bit cheesy, but many very nice, and with the kind of sophisticated funk arrangements that were on the best Kudu records. No surprise that Dave Matthews is putting together most of the cuts, save for one excellent groove that's arranged by Tom Harrell. Players include Fred Wesley, Ronnie Cuber, Eric Gale, and Wilbur Bascomb – and titles include "Baia", "Sudan", "Hey Pocky A Way", "Theme For New York City", which is based on the same Chopin haunting tune as Serge Gainsbourg's "Jane B"! LP, Vinyl record album